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Monday, September 8, 2008

Hamilton penalty: Fair or foul?

Was Lewis Hamilton’s penalty fair? Is this a case of Ferrari bias? The blogs are abuzz:

For my part, I can't argue with the penalty.

  1. Pushing Hamilton wide is the same thing Hamilton would have done to Raikkonen in reverse
  2. Yes, he did give the position back, but he remained in the tow and immediately re-passed, really leaving Raikkonen no chance to defend the position. Had he waited a few more turns I think it would have been arguable, but as it was he retook him too fast
  3. There were not enough laps in the race for the stewards to assess a penalty

Admittedly, I predicted there would be no change in the race results after the conclusion, so I was surprised at the decision. But from the moment the incident took place I felt Hamilton had still gained an advantage with the maneuver.

Ed Gorman, of TimesOnline’s Formula One Blog, had much the same reaction at the moment of the incident as I:

“All I would say is that when I first saw the "Battle of the Bus Stop", I had a moment of anxiety about the speed with which Lewis went back on the offensive after conceding the place.”

I can only preface this by saying I am anything but a fan of Ferrari, but Hamilton on the top step of that podium, I felt was a hollow victory, exploiting the spirit of the rule. Especially in that Hamilton, at that point, had the better car and would have gotten Raikkonen anyway.

The only argument I can see with the decision is Ferrari were only hit with a monetary fine following the Valencia pitlane incident. But, then I would argue, Massa should not have been penalized for a team decision, while Hamilton was penalized for his own actions.

What disappoints me most is this reopens all that “McLaren is the red-headed step-child” bull. But at least it injects a little controversy into the championship, and speaking as a journalist, how can that be bad? Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I happen to be a Ferrari fan. Here's my view. Had Hamilton backed off at the entrance to the Bus Stop, instead of taking to the grass, he would have emerged from the second turn right on Kimi's gearbox and made the pass. It's essentially what happened after he conceded the position. Therefore, I don't think he gained any advantage that he wouldn't have had.
Having said that, I also think the idea that he was looking for an advantage by launching across the grass has merit. He's smart enough and quick enough to think of that on the fly. And he does have a touch of "The Michael" in him.
Whether the penalty sticks or not, perhaps he'll learn that there are times when you need to dial back the aggression.

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